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Highlights From ACES 2024 San Diego

Highlights From ACES 2024 San Diego

April 16, 2024 By ACES Staff ACES News

ACES' 28th annual conference, ACES 2024 San Diego: Unleashing Creativity, held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, is another one for the history books. 

Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette deliver the keynote address at ACES 2024 San Diego.

By the numbers


The first First-timers Reception

Also on the agenda were several social events, including the inaugural First-timers Reception, which was sold out, and the customary Opening Reception and Awards Banquet. 


Breaking news

Editing news was broken when the Associated Press chose ACES 2024 San Diego as the moment to announce its historic decision to switch the AP Stylebook's primary dictionary to Merriam-Webster. Read more about their session, What's New in AP Style?. AP has been announcing its annual updates at ACES conferences for 25 years.  

CMOS' Russell Harper (left) told President-elect Mark Allen about the forthcoming 18th edition.

The Chicago Manual of Style revealed several changes coming in its 18th edition, which will be published on Sept. 18. Among them, the slide announcing "Headline Style is now Title Case" got an audible gasp from the audience, as did the change to now capitalize "The" in the name of The New York Times and other publications. 

Russell Harper, editor, Chicago Manual of Style Online Q&A and Shop Talk blog at the University of Chicago Press, was interviewed by the show's host, Mark Allen, president-elect of the ACES Board of Directors

The session was presented as a live show for "That Word Chat" viewers and the Zoom recording is now available on YouTube. This year's Robinson Prize winner, Erin Brenner, of Right Touch Editing, has blogged about the updates as well

Neil Holdway at the First-timers Reception

In ACES news, longtime Board member and outgoing president Neil Holdway finished his two-year term and moved into the position of past president. He was surprised with a trophy at the Closing Session, along with many warm words from his ACES colleagues. 


Professional development 

The primary purpose of an ACES conference, of course, is professional development — supporting editors in every aspect of their professional lives — and the core focus of the week, the breakout sessions, covered the business of editing as well as core editing skills, and words and language. 

Specifically, the breakout sessions covered AI, accessibility, linguistics, neurodiversity, style guides, project management, and much more. Every session lasted a focused hour, typically beginning with a talk from the presenter and ending with Q&A. Handouts and slides were made available on Whova, the conference app, which also provided a place for attendees to ask the presenter questions. 

"Ask the Editing Experts Roundtable" was ACES' first pre-conference workshop.

Structured networking 

Of course, networking is also an essential aspect of any conference, and especially an ACES conference. Editors need community and colleagues, particularly given the often solitary and isolated nature of their work. The Peer Connection Coffee Chats served to connect editors working in similar areas so they could discuss aspects of their work. Coffee Chats were created in response to requests from previous conference goers and this is the third time they've been held. The conversation was focused and engaged. 

Christine Steele was one of nine editing experts presenting at the pre-conference workshop.

ACES introduced its first pre-conference workshop this year, "Ask the Editing Experts Roundtable." Attendees went from expert to expert to ask questions of nine editors. The session concluded with the nine panelists answering questions from the entire group in a lightning round. 


The Awards Banquet

The ACES editing community came together at the Awards Banquet to celebrate its own, the winners of the annual Robinson Prize and the Glamann Award. 

The Robinson Prize is ACES' highest honor. This year the award went to Erin Brenner, owner of Right Touch Editing.  

Angela Fuhrmann accepts the Glamann Award from Board President Neil Holdway on behalf of her father.

The Glamann Award, named after the other cofounder of ACES, was awarded posthumously to Henry Fuhrmann, a longtime member of ACES who was the president of the ACES Education Fund at the time of his death in 2022. His award was accepted on his behalf by his daughter Angela. 

"As you know, he loved the editing part of the work," she told the audience. "But he definitely loved the people part more. So thank you to ACES for recognizing my dad and thank you all for making my dad’s time in this organization so wonderful and special."

Walsh Scholar Russell Leung at the Awards Banquet, ACES 2024 San Diego

Also present at the Award Banquet were Russell Leung, the 2023-2024 Bill Walsh Scholar, most of the 2023-2024 ACES Scholars, and three of the four 2023 Holden Fellows. As part of their awards, these editors received free registration and travel expenses to ACES 2024 San Diego. Their awards are given by the ACES Education Fund in support of the future of editing. 



Spelling Bee and Silent Auction

Two popular conference events raise money for the Education Fund, the Spelling Bee and the Silent Auction, which had its most successful year ever. 

Another highlight of the conference, the Spelling Bee, included the official bell — its sound signals a wrong answer — and lists of words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Merriam-Webster's Peter Sokolowski pronounced the words. The celebrity judges featured the conference keynote speakers, Barrett and Barnette, and Andy Hollandbeck, the winner of the 2023 Spelling Bee. 

Merriam-Webster's Peter Sokolowski pronounced the words at the Spelling Bee.

"For those of you with the bingo cards, here it is! Mark it up!" Hollandbeck said when he was introduced, holding up the famous bell. A new contest this year was a conference bingo card and one of the squares was the Spelling Bee bell. 

The Bee covered 100 words in 14 rounds — the first word was "bonobo" — and was won by repeat champion Kate Karp with the word "exogenous." She received $300 for her accomplishment. Second place in the Spelling Bee was Candice Gullett, who won $200, followed by Amy Carbo in third place for $100. The cash prizes were donated by the Bremner Editing Center of the University of Kansas.

The top three spellers pose with the judges and organizers of the 2024 Spelling Bee.

Closing Session 

Holdway was presented with a trophy in honor of his decades of service to ACES and winners of the conference contests were announced. 

Board officers Neil Holdway and Alysha Love enjoying the Neil Celebration.

A pun time was had by all

The first ever Pun Slam, held at the Opening Session, resulted in two finalists, Dave Nelsen and James Harbeck, who punned off in the Closing Session. Nelsen emerged victorious after a short bout featuring household words and received a $25 credit for ACES merch

The winner of the Photo Contest was a cat, of course, beating several stunning shots of rainbows.

ACES: The Society for Editing

ACES: The Society for Editing is the nation’s leading organization of editing professionals, educators, and students. Founded in 1997 by copy editors, ACES is dedicated to improving the quality of the written word and the working lives of editors. It sets standards of excellence and gives a voice to editors in journalism, government, business, publishing, and beyond through top-notch training, networking, and career opportunities. ACES hosts an annual in-person conference and, since 2022, an annual virtual conference. ACES Academy hosts monthly webinars. ACES also offers certificates in editing, which it co-hosts with The Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism. 

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